Language Lovers

talking red

Pass the sanny, Bruce: Oz has its own lingo for the pando

The coronavirus pandemic is a global phenomenon, but different countries have adopted different responses to it according to their local circumstances and traditions. This is true not only in terms of public-health measures, but also in terms of the language used to describe the disease and… Read More
research yellow

What a coronacoaster of a year!

Over the last several months, when factories, offices, restaurants and other places of social gathering have been (intermittently) shut, people’s creativity has taken all sorts of unexpected directions. Anything goes in the quest to overcome that feeling of blursday, one uneventful day following another so that… Read More
lockdown word of the year 2020

The year of lockdown

It’s no surprise that quite a few of the words on Collins Word of the Year 2020 shortlist have one big thing in common: the pandemic. Something that changed everyone’s lives so profoundly – leaving no country or continent untouched – was bound to have a… Read More

7 US political terms to baffle Brits

The United States holds its presidential election on November 3rd after a long and sometimes rancorous campaign. While observers in Europe will have become accustomed by now to some of the terminology of the American political scene, with its caucuses, conventions, superdelegates, and running mates, some more arcane American political… Read More
graphic of person on a boat

Months of awareness

Last month, this month and the next two are great for practising Latin numerals, as you do: septem, octo, novem, decem (7, 8, 9, 10). But hang on a moment. Decem means ‘ten’, but December isn’t the tenth month. Or is it? Well, it was once, in the original Roman… Read More

World Space Week

Today, 9 October, is the penultimate day of this year’s World Space Week, a UN event launched in 1999. Space Week falls at this calendar juncture because this first October week is bookended by two key dates. The fourth of October 1957 saw the… Read More

Autumn equinox

‘The nights are fair drawing in’ is a trope about the weather that applies powerfully as you read this. The nights certainly are drawing in, and indeed, half past two in the afternoon on Tuesday 22 September this year marks the autumn equinox, when day and night are… Read More